If you’ve worked within the marketing and advertising world for a while, chances are you’ve run into a request for proposal (RFP) .
Whether you are producing the request (client) or even receiving the request (agency), you may have very different views on which an RFP means and exactly how effective they can be.
In its prime, RFPs helped buyers to logically categorize and compare suppliers of very similar things (commodities).
Say you’re searching for a new vendor for medical center supplies. An RFP will help you analyze your options thoroughly. Through asking for a history of clients, their price point, how many employees they have, to proof of reliability, there can be hundreds of things to end up being learned.
To have an industry as cut plus dry as sheets plus band-aids and rubbing alcohol, an RFP can help iron out issues that might arise later in your relationship.
But in other a lot more creative industries like advertising, RFP’s can send you lower confusing rabbit holes. It’s important to understand when an RFP will help you, and when it might put a wrench in your procedure.
So , precisely why don’t RFPs work in helping you find a content marketing agency?
- An RFP is a traditional means of hiring an agency, but content marketing is not traditional.
- If your company doesn’t know how to repair an issue they have, an RFP wil stifle creativity and strategy in finding your solution.
- You can nevertheless effectively find a great marketing agency without an RFP if you keep a few key tips in mind.
What is an RFP?
A request proposal is a document which is usually issued by businesses that are looking for a solution to a problem they’ve already identified.
The document includes an oftentimes rigid guidelines that covers a myriad of items; from prices, history of work, number of employees, as well as a description of the project they need loaded. A lot of the time, in the explanation of the project’ s range, the RFP also features a timeline.
There may be some benefits to the RFP. When a company issues an RFP, it’s like an advertisement that they’re a hot lead. The RFP shows that they’re ready to buy plus they know what problem they want solved. This is any salesperson’s dream.
But, there are drawbacks to the RFP process, especially when it comes to choosing a content marketing agency.
With a rigid checklist, there isn’t much room for an innovative analysis of the company’ s issues. This kind of selection criteria works best with objective and tangible results. When responses are prone to interpretation, the RFP falls flat.
Where the RFP falls flat
When it comes down to it, it’s much harder to quantify creative elements. Sure, on paper you could say a video marketing firm provides you 60 second animations for your ads. Pretty cut and dry right? Well what if you end up hating their designs and aesthetic when applied to your brand?
On paper they hit all the marks. Their price was respectable, their timeline was specific, and their plan seemed foolproof. It doesn’t change the fact that you merely don’t like their work.
Content marketing is a creative space. When businesses are graded on responses to an RFP, their work, process, and results are often overlooked.
The presence of an RFP itself implies that the company issuing it knows what their issue is and how to fix it. If that were the case, they would be fixing it themselves, right?
If the company issuing the RFP has little to no marketing department, they won’t know the right questions to ask. The marketing world is constantly evolving. Each and every day there are new marketing trends (good and bad) and much more data to be learned.
Content marketing is in high demand. In the age of the internet, content is king. It’s a genuinely tough industry to get a grasp on.
When an RFP stifles the creative element, it makes a list of to-do’s. That’ s great when you’re dealing with an objective industry like moving band-aids from one location to another, but in marketing it can lead to failure.
A technique is key when it comes to content marketing. Without strategy you’re just throwing caution to the wind and hoping something sticks.
A good strategy is what sets you apart from your competitors. Here are just some of the benefits a content online strategy can provide:
- Consistency in your brand. From publishing cadence to tone of voice, a strategy can help you remain consistent which can subsequently build trust and brand loyalty.
- A simpler time tracking ROI . With a technique defining your efforts, you’ll understand how and where to track your performance. When you know what works, you can stop wasting money and time on what doesn’t.
- A complete view of the puzzle. With so many methods of driving traffic, the full-picture can sometimes get blurred. With strategy you’ll know where your efforts are being utilized best, and where they miss the mark. Maybe your blog is thriving, but you aren’t utilizing your social media channels. A method will help highlight these misses.
- Lead optimization . Content marketing generates leads, with an excellent strategy this process can be optimized to drive more sales.
This isn’t a comprehensive list, but you get the point. A strategy gives your content marketing efforts a solid structure and a much easier path to success.
An RFP isn’t going to highlight this. They don’t open the floor for a company to advise you in the area they know most useful. Not to mention the fact that an RFP essentially whitelabels the relationship during the decision making process.
Sure, you see the company name and logo and even the name of the person filling out the document, but chances are you won’t reach meet the person you’re likely to be working with until the deal is sealed.
Rapport between you and your marketing agency is important. The more communication and trust there is in a relationship, the more effectively the two could work together. If you have reservations as a client, you should feel comfortable expressing those concerns and confident they’ll be able to help.
So if I’ve successfully made you cautious with the RFP…
How can you choose the right marketing agency?
While you’re looking for the best marketing agency , there are many things you should keep in mind.
- Know your goals and be open to new ideas. You might be looking for a marketing agency for a multitude of reasons. Maybe your whole content marketing efforts are unsuccessful, or maybe it’s just your website and video efforts. You could also be looking for a more extensive marketing agency, especially if you don’t have any marketing experts on your team. In any event, when you’re looking for an agency you should have a goal in mind rather than a path to follow.
- Look into their strategy. Just because you’ve ditched the RFP doesn’t mean you should become too lax. When an agency presents you with their strategy, stress test them a bit. From case studies to statistics, you intend to make sure the agency you’re looking at is legit.
- Ask the right questions. You want to create a conversation. While some yes-or-no questions add value, you’d be better off keeping them open ended as to find out about their strategy and how it can apply to your pain points.
Just like Goldilocks, you need to find the marketing agency that’s just right.
You can find hundreds of different types of marketing agencies out there. From more overhead agencies that will cover your entire marketing efforts to niche agencies to optimize certain aspects of your strategy. When you identify your issue and also have a goal in mind, it’s better to let the experts tell you what the solution is rather than make it up for yourself.
The post Why an RFP Won’t Work When Finding a Content Marketing Agency appeared first on Marketing Insider Group .